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  • Writer's pictureMan Chung

How to Efficiently use a Company List to Generate LEADS

  • Are you in B2B sales?

  • Are you not generating enough sales?

  • Do you have a list of company contacts to cold call but don’t know where to start?

  • Is your company list not generating enough or any conversions?

  • Do you want to be speaking to only WARM LEADS that have already expressed interests in your products/services?

  • Do you want to have a more systematic approach such that you and/or your sales colleagues are investing their time and effort in your clients most efficiently?

  • Do you want to use technology to automate your filtering and outreach efforts?

  • Are you looking for more leverage and better ROI (Return on Investment)?

As an alternative to company list and email direct marketing (EDM), LinkedIn allows for a much more personalised approach to targeted audiences. Outreach campaigns can also be automated allowing sales efforts to focus on closing warm leads.

In my previous life as a stock analyst, we published equity research reports making recommendations on the buying and selling of stocks to institutional investors who managed billions of dollars for their clients.

Step 1 - Sales Identify a Power List of Clients using a CRM (Client Relationship Management) Tool

After we published our report, we would “blast” out the report by an email or what we called distribution. This is done by either a system (CRM) or ourselves.

The system is maintained by the company we work for and is essentially a research report portal where the institutional investors (our clients) can pick and subscribe reports by company, industry and analyst. This would be distributed via a generic company email.

The analysts also maintained their own separate client lists, which would most likely be different from the system.

A good CRM is one where each client is given a status such that the sales know where in the sales process is the client and what remaining steps are necessary to close.

Step 2 - Sales Input Client Information to the Power List

Starting anything from scratch is tough. Building relationships with clients are similar, choosing the right tools helps.

We find that LinkedIn is a good tool for B2B because of its profiling, while we can help automate most of the process.
Specifically, LinkedIn allows you to connect with your potential clients through searching for their job titles, company working at, years of experience to identify seniority or potential decision making capabilities. There are also more advanced filtering such as by geography and industry.

Step 3 - Send Customised Connection Requests to Maximise Conversions

When making a connection request to potential new clients on LinkedIn, LinkedIn allows you to send a connection message with a limit of 300 characters.
This is critical as a first touch point and a very specific message helps. You can also potentially send a link to your marketing funnel though it may work better as a follow up message after the connection is made due to the fact that LinkedIn allows for a very personalised outreach.

Back in my analysts’ days, analysts usually added some “flavours” to their emails with more customised messages. For the more tech savvy of us, which aren’t that many, this would be automated via mail merge where at least the greeting was personalised. For the more hard working analysts, they would add individual messages to each client.

Apparently, the more customised the messages, the more likely clients will respond. However, customised messages also meant the analyst had to know the client beforehand or at least, have some background knowledge.

Feedback mechanisms were mostly subjective and sparse, there weren’t really objective ways to measure the effectiveness of a research report other than page counts.

In our view, LinkedIn Outreach Campaigns with a 1-2% conversion rate is generally acceptable, ie, 1 to 2 out of 100 connection requests show interest in the product or service.
That also implies most of the connection requests will be ignored though this process can be largely automated hence you would just get the feeling warm leads come to you.
We can also send follow up messages for the profiles that accepted the connection request but did not respond. Generally, another 5% or so would respond to a follow up message as they may be sceptical or did not understand well enough the initial message to respond.
What is most interesting though is that a lot of profiles will actually respond and tell you exactly that they are not what you are looking for and sometimes using very plain languages. This is excellent as if we begin to get many of them, we would know that we have not filtered well our profiles and should revise our keywords and/or other search criterias.

Step 4 - Webhook allows for direct integration of LinkedIn Leads to CRM

Once we have a positive response to our connection request, we can then set up such that this profile feeds through to our CRM as a potential lead.

We can then follow up in a number of ways such as continuing the dialogue in LinkedIn or switching the communication channel to email. This can be done either by asking the lead directly for their email or for LinkedIn profiles that have inputted such data, you will be able to see their emails in the contact info.

Other than that, if for example, we send a link to the lead, we can also track engagement via tools in PII (personally identifiable information) so that we know which email visited the link.

Step 5 - Sales Approaching the Warm Leads to Close

After the emails, analysts would usually make calls to their clients, which is essentially a quick summary of actionationable ideas and last for 2-3 minutes.

The important note here is how should the analyst decide who to call first and the time allocation to each client.

Theoretically, the client with the most likelihood to action on that idea should be called first and spend most time with.

However, this information is quite dynamic and most of the time, the analysts do not have access to such information.

A good proxy is then how important the client is as reflected by the institution the client works for and the role (a fund manager is usually considered more important than a fund analyst due to higher decision making responsibilities, ie, just one funnel instead of two, ie, you have to convince the fund analyst first for him/her to convince the fund manager or you can just simply go direct to convince the fund manager but there are also cases where the fund analyst is important and his/her endorsement will help you convince the fund manager).

There are also other factors to consider and trade off, a more important client is also more likely to be better serviced and therefore, harder to get to.

This also depends on credibility (such as whether the analyst has helped make money for the fund manager before) and perhaps more importantly, personal relationships.

The question then also becomes, how do you start off the personal relationships. This is so important yet when I was an analyst, there was really no structured training on that. Everybody just happened to know everybody and the earth keeps spinning based on that but no one could explain where earth came from.

Fortunately, with a well-oiled machine in place, the CRM should guide the sales by providing an indicator as to the numbers of steps still required to close the lead. The sales or sales manager should be able to always go back to the CRM and see this information. This will allow the sales or sales manager to prioritise and allocate time to leads that either have less steps and/or higher probability to close as reflected by a score. For example, a lead that is more engaging such as providing the company name, email and phone number should have a higher score than one that only provides a phone number. A lead that has already received product spec 2 days ago should perhaps be higher priority to a lead that had just indicated interest. A lead that has higher seniority in title should perhaps have a higher score given the likely higher decision making responsibilities and therefore likelihood to close.

Step 6 - Sales Feedback to the CRM

In essence, we are building a funnel and each step is a probability that multiplies together to give the probability of closing. Therefore, our job is to not only maximise the probability of each step but more importantly, remove steps that are unnecessary.

A CRM also allows sales managers or business owners to manage sales teams more efficiently by setting KPIs and analytics such as relationships between time spent and leads closed.

CRM is a good tool allowing management to follow the whole sales funnel process from power list to closing to referrals and upsells.

Conclusion: B2B Business Development can Efficiently Scale Relationships by Leveraging Technologies such as Automation and CRM

With time and energy limited commodities, the problem with the traditional model of blasting emails and cold calling is that it is difficult to scale because analysts need to maintain a high level of personal relationships especially with their more important clients.

Back then, little did I know about B2B, let alone, lead generation. But this was effectively what I was doing on a day to day basis and amazingly despite all of our abilities in analysing stocks and the infrastructure we had, we never had a good workflow for this process.

Thanks to modern technology infrastructure, the gap between running my own business and working for somebody’s business has been significantly reduced.

With only hundreds of dollars per month, I could now have my own email domain, CRM and with LinkedIn, access to millions of professional B2B clients.

With the right pitch, we can now target customers with specific profiles on LinkedIn.

This ranges from finding buyers for medical equipment to business owners who are looking to sell their businesses to raising capital from investors.

We could reach out to thousands of customers by automating the entire reach out process and track conversion rates.

Better filtering would mean better conversions. For example, using the keyword “procurement” or “sourcing” in job titles for selling medical equipment.

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